Sunday, June 12, 2005

Memorable Songs from the 90's

I've often marveled in how listening to old songs instantly bring back old memories of people, and events. Music has a way of becoming ingrained in the mind, permanently associating itself with past memories. They bring back thoughts of high school, old friends, even old feelings. Very powerful stuff.

Problem is, I don't listen to the radio much nowadays. When I do, I usually tune in to the oldies station or Howard Stern. Which is far more entertaining than much of the "music" played in the airwaves. I've always found the older songs to be superior to the present-day selection of so-called modern mainstream music. But maybe it's just me. Perhaps we only remember the good stuff from the past and block out the bad.

So to check that theory, I went through a list of Top 40 music from the previous decade and listed each song that either (a) I liked, or (b) Had a strong memory attached to it. And then I tried to look for a pattern over the years. Here's what I got:

* - Particularly strong memory or attachment

Basia - Cruising for Bruising
Roxette - Dangerous
Billy Joel - I Go To Extremes
* Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby
Go West - King of Wishful Thinking
* Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
P.M. Dawn - Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
* Cathy Dennis - Too Many Walls
* EMF - Unbelievable

* M.C. Hammer - 2 Legit 2 Quit
Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart
Color Me Badd - All 4 Love
Sophie B. Hawkins - Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover
P.M. Dawn - I'd Die Without You
Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy
Kriss Kross - Jump
Tom Cochrane - Life is a Highway
* Spin Doctors - Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
* U2 - Mysterious Ways
* INXS - Not Enough Time
Wreckx-N-Effect - Rump Shaker
* Color Me Badd - Slow Motion
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Weird Al Yankovic - Smells Like Nirvana
Mr. Big - To Be With You
The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
* Kris Kross - Warm It Up
* Cathy Dennis - You Lied to Me

Ace of Base - All That She Wants
* Tears For Fears - Break It Down Again
Ugly Kid Joe - Cat's in the Cradle
Radiohead - Creep
* Paperboy - Ditty
The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
* Snow - Informer
* S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. - It's Gonna be a Lovely Day
* P.M. Dawn - Looking Through Patient Eyes
* R.E.M. - Man on the Moon
Arrested Development - Mr. Wendal
Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
* The Spin Doctors - Two Princes
* 4 Non Blondes - What's Up

Ace of Base - Don't Turn Around
* Ini Kamoze - Here Comes the Hotstepper
* Cranberries - Linger
Beck - Loser
Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
* Ace of Base - The Sign
Eternal - Stay

Sophie B. Hawkins - As I Lay Me Down
Take That - Back for Good
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise
Deadeye Dick - New Age Girl
Hootie & the Blowfish - Only Wanna be with You
4 P.M. - Sukiyaki
Madonna - Take a Bow

Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffany's
The Beatles - Free as a Bird
Los Del Rio - Macarena
Merril Bainbridge - Mouth
Clayton & Mullen - Theme From Mission Impossible

Meredith Brooks - Bitch
Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life
* Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
Spice Girls - Wannabe
Paula Cole - Where Have All the Cowboys Gone

* Jennifer Paige - Crush
Sheryl Crow - My Favorite Mistake
* Barenaked Ladies - One Week
Inoj - Time After Time
Savage Garden - Truly Madly Deeply
Shania Twain - You're Still the One

Sugar Ray - Every Morning
* New Radicals - You Get What You Give

Santana/Rob Thomas - Smooth
M2M - Don't Say You Love Me
Tom Jones - Sexbomb
Corrs - Breathless
* Morcheeba - Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
Eminem - The Way I Am

Don't get me wrong, I actually hated some of the songs that were listed above, mainly because they were overplayed on the radio ('Wannabe', 'Macarena', 'New Age Girl', and What's Up come to mind), but I look back on them with fond memories. Also note that I only chose from the limited selection of mainstream Top 40 songs at the time. There were lots other songs with stronger memories that weren't big enough hits to be considered. Obscure bands such as Lizard's Convention, The Other Two, Frente, etc. had to be left out.

Based on the list, it looks like 1992 and 1993 were very good music years. But perhaps it was because I had a lot of fun during those years, feeling good about myself both physically and mentally, and enjoying college with a weird but cool group of individuals who I still consider as my pals to this day. During that era, Ace of Base, The Spin Doctors, and M.C. Hammer ruled the world! And this unlikely band named 4 Non Blondes had their song played over and over and over and over again on the radio until you memorized the lyrics. But if you ask me, I'll take "What's Up" over any of the mindless hip-hop and rap that dominate the present.

For '97, '98, and '99, I remember to be real busy during that time, working long hours in the office, but I still remember those times with love and devotion. I consider the songs 'You Get What You Give', 'Tubthumping', 'One Week', and 'Crush' to be remarkable songs but I'm biased because what they really do for me is bring me back to what I consider to be another peak period of my life. And I remember a lot of the people I were with at the time, hanging out with some guys every Friday night after work, being too afraid to go home by myself after watching The Blair Witch Project in Glorietta 4. Ahhh those were good times.

What worries me is that a decade or so from now, due to the poor quality of music we commonly hear today, there will be no emotional attachments to any of the songs. That memories will grow stale and be forgotten without any melodies to attach to. What we need is a musical renaissance. We need to bring back the time when songs were actually written rather than manufactured. The good news is there are a few bright spots which I will discuss in a future post.


Anonymous said...

Music then and music now is all the same. They are ment to make money and at the same time play with our emotions. Maybe the 90's seem better since you were experiencing the joys and sorrow that life had to offer.
It is nice to listen to the oldies and remember the days gone by. But is also important to move on, listen to mainstream music and live life today so you can write about 2005 ups and downs. l2bd

roehl said...

is that you, leinard? how are you?

as for me, i'm too drugged and drowsy to reply to this post. maybe in the future, i'll get back to this ......

Cris said...

What a timing for this particular topic!!!

First off, I have to agree with anonymous that music then is the same as music now. I was in denial of this for some several years when I suddenly found myself being more critical of the current music releases.

I am just recently realizing how music hasn't really changed much but it's I that changed a lot and while my taste in music hasn't changed (at least i don't think so), the way that I process what I hear certainly has.

I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard this new song by Kelly Clarkson (the faster one, not Breakaway) and I instinctly thought to myself, "oh no not again!" but before I could go any further and criticize the song, I found myself asking "why do I hate this song again?" Half-way through I remember several lame songs from my childhood that I actually enjoyed back then, including some of Tiffany's, Debbie Gibson's the Spicegirls, etc...and finally i thought that if I was 10 years old, I would also like this Kelly Clarkson song and will probably even know all the words by now. What the heck happened to me? I stopped enjoying music for what it's worth and turned into a selective and critical listener...and for what?

I think I'll start listening to current mainstream music more too and try to enjoy it now as I enjoyed the music from my childhood.

roehl said...

not feeling too drugged as of the moment so let me share my take on old and new music.

i think enjoying music depends on your state of mind. the tendency is for us to like older music cause this was heard during a time when we were less busy, when we had fewer responsibilities and obligations. it seems harder to appreciate the music of today, like hip-hop for instance, because our brain does not have the capacity to take in newer music as it is clouded with lots of work.

unlike when we were younger when we can depend on our parents all the time, we are now confronted with the challenge of facing and solving our own problems. and thus, music (or at least new music) takes a back seat.

rmacapobre said...

with the advent of music blogs. we can now enjoy music from all over europe, south america, and africa.

here are some of the music blogs which has (or had, so d/l asap before the line goes dead)

also check out the links which takes you to other music blogs

rob said...

That's right, with good music you can appreciate it given the right state of mind.

What differentiates the great music from the good is that great music creates the state of mind, it puts you in a different world. For me, that is the true power of great music that is lacking in the mainstream nowadays.